DERRY — The Town Council has approved a $21,600 federal grant that will allow the police department to begin updating its in-car video surveillance technology.
With the funds, Police Chief Ed Garone said the department will be able to buy two new cameras, as well as the server, software and other equipment needed to upgrade the equipment.
"Currently, we have 11 cameras, but there have been major improvements in technology over the past several years," said Garone.
The new cameras will improve quality for both the pictures and sound, and will save the department time as the software will automatically download the recordings as the cruisers pull into the parking lot of the police station.
The nine remaining older cameras will continue to work, with the department continuing to manually download the recordings, said Garone.
Garone said the department will continue to seek funding for the remaining cameras over the next several years through grants and other methods.Councilor Mark Osborne asked Garone how effective he thinks it is to have cameras in the police cruisers.
Garone said the cameras helped protect officers from accusations of misconduct and assist the department in prosecuting criminals.
"We do receive complaints on occasion, and since we have had the equipment, we have been able to review incidents," said Garone. "Not to my surprise, the officers have acted properly."
Town Administrator John Anderson also noted one incident where there was an accident involving a cruiser, and a citizen claimed the cruiser ran a red light.
"From the camera, it was very apparent that the cruiser was at a green light and that the person turned on the red light," Anderson said.
Garone said he hopes to have all cruisers updated to the newer cameras within the next several years."They have been a great tool to keep us on our toes as law enforcement, and they have prevented citizens from making false and costly accusations," Garone firstname.lastname@example.org